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What's the recommended approach to dealing with posts that include links shortened using AdFly. Should it the link be edited away or replaced, flagged, downvoted, or simply ignored?

Unless I've completely missed the point with AdFly, the fact that the poster gets paid when someone clicked the link makes it spam in my book.

If someone posts an AdFly link as the only content in an answer, I'll quite happily downvote and/or flag it as spam, but what if it's part of a legit question/answer like some of these?

  • I've edited the 2nd link as it was clear where it should have pointed. – ChrisF Sep 6 '11 at 10:09
  • 'URL Shortening' -- the internets version of Crisco. – Rosinante Sep 6 '11 at 12:33
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Treat it like any other URL shortening: replace it by the original URL. It doesn't matter why the URL was obfuscated, the post must contain the intended target URL.

If the sole point of the post was to share an URL that pays the poster, then the post is spam. Otherwise ignore the revenue aspect.

If you notice that a user is using URL shortening (paying or not) on a regular basis, point them to the consensus that URL shortening should not be used (except when there's a very good reason, but you can leave this part out: “never obfuscate URLs” is a very good first approximation).

  • 1
    For additional reference purposes only: Ban URL shorting services – Time Traveling Bobby Sep 6 '11 at 11:36
  • If the user is being a url shortening http://wh.or, flag for mod attention. – user1228 Sep 6 '11 at 15:24
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    @Won Do you (as ♦) make a difference between users who are using a basic shortening service, and those who are using one that redirects you via an ad? – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Sep 6 '11 at 16:39
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    @Gilles: Mods can't check every service. If you notice someone using a link whoring service, flag and give details. Also, you might email team@stackoverflow and ask them to blacklist link services that exist solely to make cash off clicks. – user1228 Sep 6 '11 at 19:30

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